Peter Kafka

Recent Posts by Peter Kafka

Ad Giant Omnicom: Things Could Get (A Little) Better in Nine Months

UPDATE: Let’s turn that frown upside down. Yes, Omnicom CEO John Wren says during his company’s earnings call, the last quarter was “probably the most challenging quarter the company’s faced since 1992.” And yes, he thinks “the first nine months of this year are going to be difficult.”

But! Things may be looking up by the fourth quarter of 2009, Wren says. In part, that’s because those results will be compared to last quarter’s results, which are lousy. But Wren is also hopeful about the effect of stimulus spending in the U.S. and other countries. So that’s something, right?

EARLIER: For much of 2008, the big ad conglomerates seemed unaffected by the global slowdown. But that had to stop sometime: Omnicom Group (OMC) just announced that its fourth-quarter revenue and earnings dropped seven percent and 13.7 percent, respectively.

From the barebones press release Omnicom issued, it’s difficult to get a read on just how off the ad markets really are: The giant holding company hasn’t broken out it results by industry (advertising versus PR, etc.), and crucially, it hasn’t broken out its organic growth rate–i.e., how the company would have performed without recent acquisitions. [UPDATE: Reuters says organic growth dropped 2.3 percent, though I can’t see where it got that figure.] Hoping to get more of that during the company’s 830 earnings call and will report back if there’s anything interesting.

Here are two breakdowns of Omnicom’s Q4 numbers, via the company’s conference call.

[Image Credit: jsome1]

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Nobody was excited about paying top dollar for a movie about WikiLeaks. A film about the origins of would have done better.

— Gitesh Pandya of comments on the dreadful opening weekend box office numbers for “The Fifth Estate.”